MTN8: Semi-finals 1st Leg Preview

 
First leg fixtures often prove cagey with teams avoiding going into the second leg trailing. That could be the case this weekend as MTN8 semi-finals get underway. Polokwane City host Highlands Park while SuperSport United entertain Mamelodi Sundowns. Let’s have a look at how these fixtures are likely to pan out.

Bet Now on SoccerSaturday 31 August

Polokwane City 1/1 
Draw 22/10 
Highlands Park 26/10 
(15:00)

Prior to their midweek fixture against Chippa United, Polokwane City had played four competitive games in the current campaign. Rise And Shine have won three and lost one of those encounters, conceding only one goal in the process. They are among the early pace-setters in the league as they lie third with six points out of a possible nine, at the time of writing.

The Limpopo-based outfit seems to be thriving under the tutelage of Zlatko Krmpotic who took over the coaching reigns before the start of the season. In the previous stage of the current campaign, they upset the odds as they defeated Cape Town City 2-0 at Newlands Stadium.

Mohammed Anas has found the back of the net twice so far this season and the opponents must be wary of him. He is assisted by the dangerous Charlton Mashumba up front and that combination can hold their own against strong defences. From a neutral perspective, I hope no player gets injured or suspended in midweek.

On the other hand, Highlands Park managed to edge Orlando Pirates 1-0 in the quarter-finals to advance to this stage but their league form has been underwhelming, with a record of two draws and one defeat in their first three outings. They will have suspended Luckyboy Mokoena back from suspension. I foresee a cagey affair in the Limpopo heat and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends in a draw.

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Sunday 1 September

SuperSport United 24/10 
Draw 22/10 
Mamelodi Sundowns 11/10 
(15:00)

This has been the most one-sided derby in recent years with SuperSport winning only one of their last 16 games since 2013. These sides have already met in the league this season with the Brazilians recording a convincing 2-0 victory. Pitso ‘Jingles’ Mosimane’s men head into this one off the back of an emphatic 4-0 drubbing of AS Otoho d'Oyo in the CAF Champions League.

Andile Jali partnered Rivaldo Coetzee in the middle of the park and they seemed to play well together which will give coach Jingles some options when it comes to rotating his squad. Speaking of Mosimane, this is the only trophy he has never won as the head coach of Sundowns. He last won it while still at the helm of his semi-final opponents while it was still known as SAA Supa 8. The last final he was involved in three years ago, saw his troops suffer an embarrassing 3-0 defeat at the hands of Bidvest Wits.

On the other hand, Matsatsantsa have been in superb scoring form this season. Since losing to Sundowns in the league opener they have scored seven goals in three games with Bradley Grobler contributing four of this, two coming from Thamsanqa Gabuza and the other one from Lungu Ghampani. However, Sundowns knows how to deal with the SuperSport aerial threat which means Kaitano Tembo must devise another strategy to penetrate their defence.

On this encounter as well, the neutrals will be hoping for full strength sides. It’s also worth mentioning that the seven goals came against big teams like Orlando Pirates, Bidvest Wits and Kaizer Chiefs. I’ve been impressed with Dean Furman and Richard Mbule in the middle of park. This could be another cagey affair but Sundowns has a way of getting results against their crosstown results. My money is on Pitso’s men.

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DOUBLE @ 6/1
Polokwane City vs Highlands Park Draw 22/10
Sundowns Win 11/10


Written by Benedict Ngwenya

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